Summary: They say life flashes before you in that moment before death. I could see it all reflected in the blade. I was standing under the cherry blossoms at my school entrance ceremony, eating cake at my sister's wedding, standing outside praying the Monster wouldn't come tonight. I might not be dead yet but I can see what's coming, this is the story of how I was murdered by a fox monster!
Sample Chapters: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty, Twenty One, Twenty Two
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"Oh shit!" Taisei cried.
I was still trying to comprehend how my approaching death managed to break through the impenetrable fence, when Taisei grabbed me by the arm and dragged me into the next room. He opened and slammed the sliding door with so much force that I was certain it would shatter.
Mana and Itsuki both jumped in shock and looked up from the charms they were painting.
"Taisei," said Mana. "Don't slam the door like that... Hey, is there something wrong?" She asked when she noticed the panic on his face.
Taisei threw me at Itsuki who put his hands out to prevent our heads from colliding.
"It's too late! She's through!" Taisei yelled. "You guys need to get out of here now. Find Akito, make him take down the fence, and run. I'll hold her off."
Mana blinked and her mouth opened and shut like she didn't know what to say.
"What are you waiting for!" Taisei yelled.
Itsuki nodded and pushed me towards the other door. Mana was still frozen to the spot, so he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to her feet.
"Come on Mana, we have to go now," he said.
It was the first time I could detect hints of panic in Itsuki's voice.
"Taisei," was the last thing Mana said before we were out of there and through to the next room.
Itsuki, Mana, and I began our dash towards Akito and freedom. Usually it would have taken less than a minute to reach his study, but to my surprise the main room was suddenly filled with sliding doors. Most of them appeared to be made from wood, but there were also a few fashioned from steel and glass. There were also a couple with mirrors attached which reminded me of being at a carnival. Each door opened in a different direction, so it sometimes took almost a minute to get one open. I had no idea how the system worked, so I left Itsuki and Mana to push them open before locking them behind us.
"I don't get it!" I yelled as I helped Mana slide another one shut. "Wouldn't this be easier without so many doors in our way!"
"They're here to help us!" Itsuki yelled back. All three of us were clearly panicking and there was a lot of yelling going on. "They act as a maze. Hopefully we can buy some time by trapping her in here!"
"I see. Take that fox monster!" I yelled out behind us as I rushed to open another door. I felt more confident when I thought she was going to get lost or become distracted by her own reflection. "Prepare to fall by the all mighty power of the exor-!"
It was then that I slammed into something in the middle of the next room. At first I could feel nothing but long hair and I screamed in fear (thinking that she had finally caught us) until I realized I'd run face first into Kurumi.
"Hey watch it!" Kurumi scolded as she picked up a spanner from the ground. "Can't you see we have important work to do."
Souta was also standing behind her with a screwdriver in his hand.
"Hey Daisuke!" Souta said enthusiastically while screwing in another door. "Shouldn't you guys be on the verandah?"
Kurumi on the other hand was quick to notice the panic on our faces.
"Hey, where's Taisei?" Kurumi asked nervously. "Shouldn't he be with you guys?"
"He's distracting the fox monster," said Mana as she locked another door.
"No way." Kurumi's mouth opened and shut like a fish as she struggled for words. "How is that possib-"
"We don't have time!" Itsuki yelled. "We need to find Akito now!"
Kurumi looked like she had more to say, but she closed her mouth and nodded her head. "Right, he should still be in his-"
Kurumi didn't get to finish. The door behind us suddenly toppled forward before we had the chance to brace ourselves. I found myself squashed flat with my head resting against the tatami, and the weight of the door threatening to crush me.
I could see nothing but stars, but fortunately Itsuki and Kurumi quickly began pushing the door away. I crawled out from underneath only to discover that every door between us and the outside had toppled over like dominoes.
There was nothing standing between us and the heart eating monster.
"No, how is this possible," hissed Kurumi.
"Because it's the fox monster," said Mana.
Her gaze was frozen towards the verandah and I followed her line of vision to see the monster draped lethargically over the railing. She looked at us like she was eying off her next meal, and saliva dripped from her mouth. There was no sign of Taisei anywhere, but at least he wasn't splattered all over the foyer like the exorcists in my sister's horror stories.
I was certain we had no choice but to run, but Kurumi stood her ground. She didn't show an ounce of fear.
"So it's come to this, huh,"she said while glaring at the monster. "I never thought it would be you and me up against this fox bitch Itsuki."
"You can say that again." Itsuki pulled a roll of charms out of his pocket and threw it over to Kurumi, who snatched it up in her fist.
"Where's Kiyori when you need him," she muttered. "He certainly picked a great time to be a scaredy cat."
Mana also managed to produce a collapsible pole which had been strapped to her leg, and Souta pressed the button of his electric screwdriver with so much enthusiasm that it looked like a weapon. I felt like I should also suddenly produce a mystic weapon, but Kurumi shoved me behind them.
All I could see were their backs.
Itsuki, Kurumi, Mana, and Souta were all prepared to fight and die against a monster who was only after me. It seemed so pointless when I knew we didn't stand a chance.
"Guys!" I yelled out to get their attention. "I'm the one she wants! You should all just run for it while you still have the chance!"
"Yeah, maybe that's not such a bad idea," Kurumi shrugged like she was mulling it over. "Not," she said with a wink.
"Don't be ridiculous. We're all friends right," said Mana. "As if we would just run away and leave you to die."
"I don't want to watch anyone I like die again either," added Itsuki.
"But she could kill you!" I shouted.
"Whether we die or not is our own decision. It's not up to you," said Kurumi. "You can run if you want to, but I'm going to stay and fight."
I wanted to convince them all to run for their lives, but I was overwhelmed by their strength and dedication.
"Guys," I mumbled.
I felt touched. I couldn't believe that these people who were all strangers a few months ago, were all willing to give their lives up for me. Until that moment I'd thought of them as nothing more than a bunch of moody teens who constantly bickered with each other, but my mind was suddenly flooded with positive memories of our time together.
I remembered studying in the library with Nina, eating lunch with Mana and Itsuki, sun-baking with Souta, telling jokes with Taisei and Kiyori, and Kurumi.....
When I stopped and thought about it, I realized I never spent much time with Kurumi. I'm certain we have nothing in common, but her willingness to protect me raised my opinion of her tenfold.
"You're also underestimating us," said Kurumi. "We're exorcists after all, it's our job to beat up Obake like this," she said as she wrapped a paper charm around the spanner in her hand. She chanted and it began to drip water. "Ready Itsuki!" She cried and pelted it towards the monster.
I caught a glance of Itsuki whip out a paper charm and a ball of lightning went flying towards the fox monster.
"As expected of Itsuki!" I yelled out in encouragement.
I expected to see the fox blown into little pieces, but she simply raised her arm to block the attack. Her sleeve was charred in the process, but other than that she was completely unharmed.
Kurumi's spanner also missed, and it exploded into a tidal wave of water when it landed in the garden outside.
"Shit," Kurumi swore as she grabbed Souta's screwdriver from his hand, attached a charm, and went in for another hit which the monster also dodged. "What is this shit," I heard her swear. "I never miss!"
I searched the ground for something I could use. There had to be a trinket lying around somewhere which could cause her damage. I couldn't stand not being able to do anything. I checked the debris around my feet while Itsuki and Kurumi continued throwing charms at the monster with little success. I thought that maybe together they could get a hit in, until Kurumi yelled "shit! Where has she gone!"
I glanced up to find that the monster had disappeared from sight. The space before us was silent and empty, and as much as I wished that she'd gotten bored and gone home, I knew that couldn't be possible.
We all frantically looked around to decipher her location. Unfortunately I neglected to look above my head which was where she decided to attack. I didn't even see the monster dive towards me until Mana jumped out between us. She raised her pole to block the attack, but the monster was too powerful.
Mana's arms collapsed beneath the weight, and she was thrown to the ground with the monster landing on top of her, poised to rip her face off.
"Mana!" Kurumi yelled as she threw her shoulder into the fox with enough force to knock her away.
The monster and Kurumi both fell to the floor in a heap. Kurumi looked prepared to activate another charm, before the fox hissed and slapped Kurumi in the face with enough force to send her flying into the wall. Kurumi's head hit the window frame with a bang and she slumped to the floor unconscious.
"Kurumi!" Yelled Souta.
He attempted to rush to her aid before the fox monster grabbed him by the ankle and sent him flying outside.
Itsuki, Mana, and I were the only ones remaining against the terrifying Obake. I helped Mana to her feet while Itsuki stood before us and the monster. He was poised and ready to attack with a charm held out before him, and another several were stuffed in his remaining hand. He and the fox monster eyed each other off, and it looked like she saw him as a legitimate threat. Her eyes were dark and serious, and maybe she hadn't forgotten how he'd thrown her into the wall that afternoon.
Mana stumbled and tried to regain her balance. There was blood dripping from her forehead and she appeared shaken, but that didn't affect her resolve. She dived her hand into her pocket and brought out a charm in an attempt to aid Itsuki.